The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog started August 9th, 2012 in my second year of working almost exclusively from the figure.

In the fall of 2015 I reintroduced still lifes and an occasional cityscape into my painting repertoire. Rather than abandon this figure blog or start a new one I decided to add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from live models or on location.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


I once read an article by a man who was well into his 90's. He was a writer and had led, in fact was still leading, an interesting and full life. The tone of his article wasn't angry or bitter he was simply relating his situation as an nonagenarian. Most individuals and indeed society as a whole had ceased paying any attention to him. In his daily life, at parties or with his writing he had become invisible.

Seated Nude, oil pastel on toned paper, 7" X 7", 2012

This eventuality is all too familiar to a visual artist. For most of us being ignored isn't something new. In lock step with our broader culture, the art world skews toward youth. Persevering in the face of this truth can be a challenge.

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Back when money was tight I developed the habit of buying paintings in thrift stores solely for their stretchers. Usually a complete stretcher frame could be had for less than the price of just one side in an art supply store. To this day I continue the practice because the wood of older stretchers is superior to that of newly milled versions.

Thrift Store Painting, (signed B. Embrey?), 14" X 18", date unknown

Thrift Store Painting, (signed Francena),
24" X 28", date unknown

Removing a canvas from its support is easy but sometimes disposing of the artwork is not. Every so often there is a sincerity to the artist's effort that connects with me as a painter. Throwing these honest attempts away just doesn't seem right. So I now have a growing art collection stapled to the walls in a back room of my studio. In the long run it will probably prove more valuable than my combined efforts.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Nothing to Prove?

Age? Maturity? Cynicism?  For whatever reason I have ceased to care how others judge my work. Outside recognition or approval was always at best a secondary consideration but now it barely registers. That's not to say I don't value people's opinions but I simply no longer feel the need to publicly prove anything with my art.

Portrait Study, oil pastel on toned paper, 9 1/2" X 7 1/2", 2017

With external judgments off the table something more fundamental comes into play. To the extent that art is a manifestation of ones emotions I still have something to prove - if only to myself.